Courtney Hadwin rose to worldwide popularity at the age of 13, when she auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in “AGT’’s 13th season, in 2018. She sang the legendary song entitled “Unforgettable” by Otis Redding, thereby receiving the golden buzzer from judge Howie Mandel. Her charm over the audience became clear immediately when the music started, as she appeared to have a complete personality shift – from a shy and insecure teenage girl to a rock-star with a career spanning decades.

The true origins of Courtney Hadwin

That wasn’t the first time Courtney was seen on the world stage though, as she first appeared in the earliest season of “The Voice Kids UK” in 2017, when she was only 12 years old. As she started performing “Nutbush City Limits” by Ike & Tina Turner, all three of the judges immediately began dancing in their seats, with excitement evident on their faces.

Finally, judge Danny Jones pressed the red button and his seat rotated, causing Courtney to finish her song. Judges Will I Am and Pixie Lott then turned as well, with the former asking her name and age. She was then showed walking alongside her father Paul and three other siblings, as the video cut straight to the patriarch of the household.

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He stated ‘Courtney first started singing when she was about five-six years old, with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She just went on from there.’ Hadwin herself then stated ‘My sisters say I wake up in the middle of the night ‘cause I sleep-sing.’ Judge Will was then disappointed that he couldn’t see the child star dancing during her performance, with Danny Jones leaping from his seat and shouting ‘You should’ve seen her! She was going crazy!’

The rapper then said ‘Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! If I ask you to sing it again, could you sing it again? Just a part of it, so I could see how you’re moving?’ With a shy ‘Yeah,’ Courtney smiled and reset her microphone position, while the production crew got the song going again. As she sang again and danced in her uncopiable signature style, all three of the judges nodded along with the rhythm, smiling at the future superstar.

After the brief performance, Jones couldn’t contain himself, and asked with an almost flabbergasted look ‘Where did you learn those moves?’ Courtney simply answered ‘YouTube,’ and when Pixie asked her who she saw perform those motions, Hadwin stated ‘James Brown.’ Jones’ final line was simply ‘I’m so excited to work with you.’ Following that statement, Courtney ran to her father back-stage and hugged him, overjoyed at how she fared.

It was then time for the judge who favored her to make sure she outshone the competition in the battle part of the show, working with her every day to choose the best possible song and ready an optimal performance of it. However, they ran into a myriad of issues trying to find the perfect blend.

Courtney said ‘We went over it a couple of times, and it wasn’t really working.’ For a moment there, it seemed as though the child star was simply unable to perform the song, but judge Danny knew better. He said ‘The verse was too low and the chorus was too high. I changed the key and it wasn’t working. I tried changing the ways they were singing it, and the order they were singing in, still didn’t work. We had to change the song.’ Courtney and her partners ultimately settled for “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie & Mick Jagger, wowing the crowd and the judges.

Posted by Courtney Hadwin on Saturday, September 16, 2017

Pixie was delighted, saying ‘I loved it. You all brought something special, so it’s a real tough decision for Danny.’ Jones’ job was then to choose one of the three who he would keep working with throughout the remainder of the show. As if comically, he replied with ‘Yeah, it is hard,’ after which he immediately chose Courtney, who was the obvious favorite from the start. He went over to the stage and hugged the 12-year old as she started crying with excitement.

She was immediately asked on stage how it felt to be chosen, at which point she spoke while holding back tears, saying ‘Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to go through. I was trying to think that I wasn’t gonna go through, so I’ll be less upset if I didn’t.’ Back-stage she was somewhat calmer, stating ‘I’m through to the semi-finals, and I can’t believe this.’

Danny spoke to her during the piano rehearsal preceding her semi-final performance, saying ‘Courtney, start with a high-five, ‘cause you’re through to the semi-finals. How did you find the battle?’ Much less nervous at this time, she just replied with ‘It was really, really fun.’ Jones further explained his decision to her, stating ‘I put you through because you have this confidence in your own stage. No one else in this competition has it.’

The judge had already chosen the song she was going to perform, but wanted to tease it to the child instead. To this extent, he asked ‘Are you feeling good?’ Courtney smiled with a shy ‘Yeah,’ thinking to herself what else the question might mean. Finally, she asked ‘Is it James Brown?’ With an excited ‘Yes, James Brown, “I Feel Good,” how do you feel, good?’ from Danny, she gave a short ‘Yeah’ with a visibly happy expression.

This was the most logical choice for the semi-finals according to the judge, as he was interviewed about it and said ‘James Brown, Courtney, boom, “I Feel Good.”’ Before her first try at emulating the song, Danny said ‘I want you to be invested straight away.’ Hadwin took that statement very seriously, beginning the song with her authentic scream. It apparently sounded so good that Jones’ jaw dropped for a moment as he looked on in disbelief.

She later stated ‘I just like the way James Brown, like, performs the songs, and uses the stage,’ further clarifying just how good a choice her judge and coach had made. When it was time for her to actually show the world the fruits of their labors, Danny simply told her ‘Leave everything on that stage, and that will be the Courtney experience. It’s like going on a rollercoaster.’ Funny he should mention that, as Hadwin then said ‘I don’t like rollercoasters.’

Regardless of her amusement park preferences, the child star left everyone breathless again. She had the judges dancing along with her throughout the whole song, and the crowd cheering endlessly. Lott had a big smile after the performance, telling Hadwin ‘You’re just, like, such a rock-star, I’m a massive fan.’ Jones simply exclaimed ‘Courtney, you are crazy!’ Just like before, she ran back-stage to hug her family, this time all three of her siblings first.

The admirable performance hadn’t put her out of the woods, though, as the hard choice was to be made once again by judge Danny, who had to pick between her and two other brilliant contestants. There was a hint as to who would pass, though, as Danny spoke right after she left the stage, telling Pixie ‘I know you remember all of them, but you really always remember Courtney.’

As the circles of light narrowed around the three children holding hands in silence and uncertainty, Danny went quiet for a second and stared at all three, finally exclaiming ‘It’s Courtney!’ She immediately dropped to her knees and started crying as the crowd became ecstatic, with the other two judges standing up to clap for her.

Jones then had only two students left – finalists Erin and Courtney. He took the time to get to know them better and help them figure out a few things about the direction they wanted their careers to go in. In the interview regarding what they did together, he said ‘So, this week I took my team for a bit of bonding, a bit of a hangout. I took them to Capital FM to see what it’s like to do a radio interview.’

At the radio station, the host asked her ‘Courtney, how did you get yourself in your head to just go out there and go ‘You know what, I’m gonna give it my all’?’ She responded with ‘I dunno, it’s just, as soon as I’m on the stage, no one can take me, so.’ Later on, in the building of the radio station, she said ‘Before “The Voice,” I’ve never done, like, an interview before, but I really enjoyed it, and I really want to do it again.’

It was then time for the finals, and Hadwin dressed very simply, in her already established unique style. She performed Jennifer Holliday’s “And I’m Telling You.” The massive stage was decorated in big purple patterns, with star-like puffs slowly dropping all around her.

After the song, Pixie said ‘I’m speechless. Oh my gosh, Courtney. Like, where, where does that come from?’ Judge Will placed his hand in front of his chest, saying ‘The bar was here, you raised it, I can’t even see the bar.’ Pointing at the roof, he said ‘Might wanna go out there and check it out, you put the bars on the ceiling.’

It was finally her mentor’s time to speak, and he had only praise for the child star, saying ‘Courtney, you never, ever, ever fail to shock me. You’re amazing, and I’m so proud that you’re part of team Danny. You come out here. You give it 100 percent, actually 110 percent, and, you know what, you inspire me.’

These big words made Hadwin stretch a big smile across her face, and Jones continued with ‘Because you go out there and you’re true to yourself, you don’t care what anybody thinks. You’re Courtney, and Courtney’s ace. I’m so proud of you.’ With that said, it was time for the champion of the entire season to be chosen. Even though Courtney didn’t win then, her name, style and voice were already set in the annals of show business.

Courtney’s life after “The Voice Kids UK”

With her newfound confidence and popularity, Hadwin entered “America’s Got Talent” the following year, impressing the world once again, along with a new set of judges. She almost won then as well, but that didn’t change much in the grand scheme of her career.

Shin Lim, the magician who actually won the competition that year, took her to the Las Vegas live shows as a guest of honor. She performed a variety of songs for one of the most prestigious audiences in the US, between the 2nd and 4th November 2018 at the Paris Hotel and Casino.

The entertainment value provided by the young singer turned out to be at such a high level that production houses just couldn’t keep their hands off her after that. Arista Records and Syco Entertainment were the first to put their offers on Hadwin’s table. She ultimately accepted them in December 2018, thus agreeing to stay out of talent shows for the foreseeable future.

She surprised the hungry fans on 25 October 2019 by releasing her first album – “The Cover Sessions.” Although it didn’t contain any of her original songs, this work featured a number of successful artists, whose songs were arguably performed even better by Hadwin. She covered several high-earning tracks, such as Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” version, “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles, the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker,” and “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi.

Her first original song available for public sampling is “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” released on both Spotify and her YouTube channel on 20 November 2020, whose official video came out 12 days later. Even though she hasn’t released anything new since, it’s certain that the child star remains hard at work on her debut album. In the meantime, she keeps the fans entertained with regular posts on her TikTok account, as well as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

One interesting bit of information regarding Hadwin’s social media is the fact that her Facebook account was briefly tampered with, which she addressed in a Twitter post, saying ‘As you can tell, my Facebook has been hacked by some stupid fecking idiot. Please do not reply to any messages, trying to get this sorted asap.’ It seems that the issue was resolved, as her Facebook page is back to running normally.

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